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Nightmare Neighbours Text   Justices of the Peace sometimes received petitions from the neighbours of trouble-makers asking for warrants for good behaviour to be issued against them. This is a petition of Thomas Sheath against Richard Pillippes of Hixton, who lived in two halves of the same house. Relations were not amicable. This extract relates how Phillipes attacked Mrs Sheath and a pig, both of whom were pregnant. He

“came to the house and founde water seething upon the fire and there he took part of the same water and cast the same upon the wyffe of the seid Sheath and scaulded one of her handes and one of her sydes very sore beyng great bellied and at her countes end. And further he beateth and misuseth the cattell of the seid Sheath and latelie stole a sowe of the seid Sheathes being great with pigge, brake one of her ribbes and caused her to cast her bellie.”

Phillips then threatened to set fire to the house and one night, when the Sheaths were sleeping in the room above, thrust his sword as far as it would go between chinks in the floorboards.

For another example of bad behaviour as recorded in the 16th century records of Quarter Sessions, click on Rugeley Rumpus

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